Academics at MIT Sloan
What MIT Sloan Is Known For
Analytical rigor. MIT Sloan’s MBA curriculum grew out of “the conviction that, in education as in business, leadership belongs to those who reject the comfort of the status quo.” The curriculum offers a high degree of flexibility, and encourages freedom and experimentation. After the intense, shared experience of the first-semester core, students are free to build a highly personalized course of study. Courses are designed to be rigorous analytically, but also to push students to think in new ways and experiment with their own development as leaders, managers, and team members. Throughout the wide variety of courses, there is an effort to balance innovative ideas and theories with real-world application.
Action Learning. While case studies and lectures have their place in the Sloan curriculum, its emphasis on Action Learning is unparalleled. Don’t get us wrong, “experiential learning” has caught on across top business schools, but Sloan has an amazing array of offerings. It provides project-based lab classes focused on global entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability that pair student teams with companies and organizations around the world. Popularity continues to grow, and MIT Sloan most recently added Operations Lab (Ops-Lab) to its Action Learning program, giving students the chance to partner with local small and medium-sized business.
Responsive faculty. The faculty also embraces the idea of learning by doing, whether piloting experimental classes to share their groundbreaking research, or making significant adjustments to flagship courses based on student and partner feedback. Going beyond theoretical discussion to take action is a deeply ingrained aspect of the MIT Sloan culture.
Intellectual curiosity. During the month of January, the typical academic schedule is suspended for MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP). This unique session gives students an opportunity to set their own educational agenda or participate in independent projects. This is often the time when MIT Sloan students travel for lab projects, and there are also ample opportunities to take a variety of courses for credit across the greater MIT campus. The Sloan Innovation Period (SIP) is another unique offering that replaces one week in the middle of each semester with an intense week packed full of shorter courses. Students have an opportunity to explore leadership courses, take workshops on negotiation, or learn more about faculty research. SIP provides another element of flexibility and customization of learning opportunities at Sloan. See more details about how these periods work in the Nuts & Bolts section below.
Global focus. MIT tends to have a more recognized brand internationally than many other top-tier schools such as Booth, Kellogg, Haas, Tuck, and others that struggle to gain global recognition. Recently, the school has sought to further leverage the MIT brand around the world by encouraging students and alumni to refer to the program as “MIT Sloan” in every instance, rather than the more casual moniker, “Sloan.” Global courses continue to be added such as China Lab, India Lab, and Global Entrepreneurship Lab that allow Sloan students to gain hands-on experience overseas as part of their MBA education.